At the start of the new cotton season (October-September), the Cotton Association of India (CAI) has estimated that 60 lakh bales of cotton — each bail containing 170 kg of ginned cotton — are to be exported this year. CAI president Atul Ganatara has stated that China and Bangladesh are expected to be the biggest importers of Indian cotton for this season.
This year, the CAI has estimated a reduction in production of four lakh bales from the 360 lakh bales the country had reported the previous year. While loose kapas (raw unginned seed cotton) prices are not expected to cross the government-declared Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs 5,850 per quintal, traders have forecast that the prices will remain between Rs 5,200- Rs 5,300 per quintal in the open market. Since October, five lakh bales of cotton are supposed to have already been marketed, as per the CAI.
A dip in production has been reported mostly from the state of Maharashtra, where October rains and pink bollworm attacks have led to the destruction of the crop. Incidentally, the consumption of cotton is also expected to rise from 280 lakh bales last year to 330 lakh bales this season.
India’s cotton season has started with a huge carryover of 107.50 lakh bales as against the 32 lakh bales last season. Consumption is expected to go up in the background of increased demand in the textile sector post the Covid-induced lockdown.
Cotton exports are expected to be 60 lakh bales as against 50 lakh bales last season. The majority of Indian cotton is expected to land in China and Bangladesh – traditionally the largest importer for Indian cotton. Imports are slated to be 14 lakh bales as against the 15.50 lakh bales in 2019-’20. Owing to higher consumption this season, the closing stock of 2020-’21, or the opening stock of 2021-’22, is expected to be 87.50 lakh bales.
Meanwhile, the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) has started its cotton procurement under MSP in various parts of the country. More than 70 centres have opened so far, with the government body procuring around three lakh bales till last week. CCI Chief Managing Director PK Agarwal has said the corporation is stepping up their operations in the coming days.
Farm activist Vijay Jawandiya has asked for immediate government intervention due to the ongoing distress sales of cotton. “In many parts of the country, government procurement is yet to begin, which is causing farmers to sell their cotton at throwaway prices,” he claimed.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines